A middle-aged gamer's collection

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davyK's picture

I'm a forty-something person who plays quite a lot of video games. I'm of an age when common consensus dictates that I should be doing something like playing Golf instead; but I don't - even though I'd like to take that particular pastime up (watch this space). I'm also of the age that means I was at a very impressionable age when video games first appeared on the scene.

The impact those early games made on me was huge. I can remember an uncle producing a pong console - it must have been around the mid-to-late 70s. Goodness knows how much it cost. At that time I was aware of the existence of these new "TV games" somehow (no web then!), but this was the first time I saw and played one. The impact was breathtaking. The whole family gaped in amazement as we moved the basic paddles up and down the screen and my father showed a total, if somewhat understandable, lack of comprehension as to how it worked. He couldn't get it out of his head that these images were being produced by a studio somewhere broadcasting 24 hours a day.

I have never lost my love of this entertainment. I now find myself married with 2 kids, a mortgage, 2 aging cars, and a video game habit to feed. I have a good job with a certain amount of responsibility but I'm no high flyer. I suppose I'm above the national average salary so I can spend money on games without too much guilt.

The odd thing is that my life is such that I now don't have a great deal of time to play games but this doesn't dampen my passion for procuring the things, and I now have a stockpile of games - well over 500 titles - many of which have not received the amount of attention they no doubt deserve given the thousands of hours that have gone into their making.

This blog is an attempt to play each and every one of these games, commenting on the game, but also commenting on what else is going in my head at the time - including my thoughts on the stigma of being a middle-aged gamer. Given the number of games I have, the rate at which I buy them and the pedestrian rate at which I will post here means I may never get through them all but I'm going to have a go anyhow.

If you follow this blog, you will see that I don't have a great taste for the modern type of game which sees the market awash with WWII-style shooters and 80's era drive-through shooting fests. My most modern console is a Wii and my collection goes back to the 70s pong consoles and the Atari 2600. I am also a fan of the same room multiplayer experience over the online scene - although I do participate in anonymous online Wii gaming.

I hope that I'll have something of interest to say over the coming months, if not years...

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Thanks for the post, Davy, I

Thanks for the post, Davy, I added an image and promoted it to the front page. This line of yours sums me up quite well as well, sadly, "The odd thing is that my life is such that I now don't have a great deal of time to play games but this doesn't dampen my passion for procuring the things...". I played golf for a time in my late 20s, but haven't since. I still have the clubs, though. It's not that great of a game, really, but then I'm not really built for golf, so I think that's a big part of it. Looking forward to future blog posts and the games you'll cover...

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
That's because it's often

That's because it's often more fun to talk about games than play them. Let's face it.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Thoughts
Matt Barton wrote:

That's because it's often more fun to talk about games than play them. Let's face it.

I'd say it's probably 50/50, really. Memories are often better than playing certain games again, especially since when we were first exposed to a lot of this stuff we were much younger and had far different lives. Luckily, that's not true in all cases. I know part of my collecting is a psychological comfort knowing that something is there when I want it, with the honest, though increasingly delusional intention of me someday getting to use it in a profound manner.

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John from Belgium (not verified)
And more 40-something
Matt Barton wrote:

That's because it's often more fun to talk about games than play them. Let's face it.

I think Matt has a point here. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of talking much about games with friends or relatives. Gamers always have been a rare species around here. Most people consider gaming something for kids. So I keep my passion for computergames to myself most of the time. It's also the reason I keep my games behind closed doors in a couple of cabinets.

Davy - your story sounds all too familiar. I'm 42 years old and living in Belgium. I'm married, I have a beautiful 10 yr old daughter, a mortgage and a 26 years old passion for video and computer games. From the early 90's on I read the reviews in game magazines and started buying PC games. That was the beginning of an ever growing collection (approx 350-400 games). I also don't play any WWII shooters, but I like the other new stuff. And I do face the same problem not being able to play every game I own.

I did play most games for a couple of hours - just to check them out. I try to complete one game at a time though. I just completed Dragon Age Origins a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't get the story out of my head for days - an amazing experience. I'm currently playing "Age of Wonders", a wonderful turn-based strategy game from 'Triumph Studios" released in 1999.

I'm planning on restyling my computerroom - new paint on the walls, new furniture, etc. I'm curious how everyone stores his game collection. Do you keep them behind closed doors or display them (for example - a bit like Matt in his movies)? Do you use any special furniture or stuff like that?

Looking forward to more of your posts.

Bill Loguidice
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Organizing
John from Belgium wrote:

I'm planning on restyling my computerroom - new paint on the walls, new furniture, etc. I'm curious how everyone stores his game collection. Do you keep them behind closed doors or display them (for example - a bit like Matt in his movies)? Do you use any special furniture or stuff like that?

I try to keep the latest systems (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) tastefully displayed and organized in our family room's entertainment center by the big TV. My wife and I also have our work stations set up in the family room, again, tastefully organized in the respective corners of the room. I have one Xbox 360 in our upstairs bedroom, otherwise everything else is in our house's basement. There's a large storage area where I have everything in sections, an office area with some other stuff, a hallway where many of my boxed computer games (and some videogame) are (on wire racks), and then a general rec room area, with some other stuff, again, organized and displayed as neatly as possible. So, essentially, I try to keep my collection of older systems and games separated from the most active parts of the house, and only the latest systems in those areas.

Without my wife and kids there to keep me honest, I would no doubt have a very scary bachelor pad with all of my "junk".

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Davy!

Hear hear. You've just said it. I'm turning 40 on mothersday and I am married, mortage, no kids, aging car and I can spend money on games without feeling too guilty. I to have more games than time to play them right now and I am very curious after your blog and how it will unfold. Excellent introduction. Looking forward to more sir!

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
"I'm a forty-something person

"I'm a forty-something person who plays quite a lot of video games" fits me to a T! While we differ on the new stuff (I love most of it) i understand the idea. I must be one of the few lucky (or unlucky, however you look at it) single guys in this thread. I have the time to play, but have graduated to bigger toys (in the last 10 years I have bought my dream car (well was my dream in my youth) a Corvette, and recently bought a MotorCycle, started on RC aircraft and building them(addicting)). So my game time is still limited, but more because of to many toys (and still trying to fix that singel guy thing so far to much time is spent on that too, suprisingly most females seem to understand the game thing better nowdays then when i was younger). Alos look forward to reading more.

IanH (UK) (not verified)
I'm 39 later this year and I

I'm 39 later this year and I remember fondly my early years with computers and consoles back in the late 1970s onwards. My uncle is a proper electronics boffin of 50+ yrs and has seen it all......and I was lucky enough to be there for some of that! He bought me my first computer a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K in 1983, so I could have one at home inbetween visiting him and using his stuff. I was totally hooked and proceeded to buy many magazines with program listings to type in etc, plus I bought as many commercial games as I could afford with my pocket money. I later bought myself a Amstrad CPC464 from my mum's home mail order catalogue at approx £2 a week for two years. I had owned or used just about every 8-bit computer around in the 80s, but the Amstrad was my favourite; I loved how it looked and the nice keyboard, plus the graphics looked excellent on my tiny 14" Panasonic TV. I later saw a CPC464 connected to a RGB colour monitor and it looked really awful. That monitor really made the graphics look chunky, blocky and with garish colours.......truly horrible! Yet somehow my 14" CRT TV fuzzed away the blockiness and the colours in some games looked more like the Atari ST (no I have not been drinking!).

When I turned eighteen I became less interested in computers and gaming and became a musician; learning guitar, keyboards and studio recording in the process. I did this on a daily basis up until the year 2000/1 but I then lost the use of the third bedroom as a studio, and what with having certain life issues I more or less came to a crashing hault and fell into depression and anxiety etc. I then decided to plug my old Atari STE into a colour TV, which is something I had never done as I had always used it with a Hi-res monochrome monitor for use with Steinberg Cubase in my recording studio room. Anyway this re-ignited my passion for 80s micros and I was hooked again! Fast forward to the present day and I now have the ZX Spectrum 48K again, along with three Atari STE and two Atari Falcon 030 machines. I also have spent probably nearly £2000 on all this including a myriad of hardware upgrades to add hard drives, CD writers, Ethernet and so on. I am also returning to playing the old games again and finding they are mostly as fantastic as they were back then.

I think the 80s games were truly fun and magical because they were more simple and relied more upon your imagination. Today games leave very little to the imagination which I feel is a huge negative. Also a lot of the variety has gone from games with far fewer genres than we had. Another point is that there was a real revolution going on back in the 80s, with the whole cottage industry thing where ordinary people were coding games in their bedrooms, and then putting them on cassettes and selling them through classified adverts in the back of magazines. Contrast that to todays big business model that is now the size of the mighty film industry. I prefered the smaller more personal feel to 80s gaming.

Finally I think there was a division between 80s home micros and consoles; they felt like very different beasts and I personally never cared for consoles. I watched the consoles take over in the early 1990s to the present day, but although the graphics became ever more impressive I felt the spirit of 1980s gaming had died completely. Games were now about realism and knock your socks off 3D brilliance, but the innocent fun was not there. It all felt and still does feel skin deep to me...

Anyway a really great blog and I look forward to reading more!

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